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ActionAid advocates better funding for government’s social security programmes

Mrs Mariam Uwais, Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments

A Civil Society Organisation, ActionAid Nigeria has called on the Federal government to release the funds voted for the Nigeria’s National Social Investment Programme(NNSIP) so the various projects under the programme could achieve  better results.

ActionAid and  other international development organisations including The United Kingdom(UK) Department for International Development(DFID), and Partnership to Engage, Reform, and Learn(PERL) has consistently monitored the NNSIP programmes and they particularly commended the Federal government’s Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP), saying that the programme is having desired impact of the lives of school children across the country.

According to ActionAid, government allocated N1.3 billion to NNSIP between 2016 and 2018. However, only N463,298,913,714 was released within the same period. The CSO believes that with more funding, the social security programmes of the government will make better impact on the people.

In a release signed by the Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi, the group acknowledges their supervisory and monitoring role in three projects under the Nigeria’s National Social Investment Programmes(NNSIP), and gave the programmes a clean bill of health.

On the School Feeding programme, Obi stated: “From the monitoring conducted, there are clear evidence of meals provided in primary schools through the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP), this resulted in more pupils going to school, improved concentration of pupils during classroom teaching, reduction in absenteeism, and in some cases reduction in the rate of illness among pupils as reported by headteachers, parents and pupils in the communities visited”.

Obi said ActionAid Nigeria,  (AAN) has been following the implementation of the National Social Investment Programme in Nigeria, AAN with support from DFID, PERL, and Ford Foundation coordinated Civil Society bodies from the 35 States (except Ekiti state that had problems with funds transfer) and the FCT, to independently monitor, evaluate and report findings based on the implementation of three out of the National Social Investment Programmes (N-SIP) namely: N-Power Programme, Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP) and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP).

“Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) conducted monitoring in 70% of the Local Government Areas in all the states (except Kano state where monitoring was carried out in 18 LGAs) at varying times between May and December 2018 interacting with over 2 million Nigerians (beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries) of the three programmes. AAN also held quarterly feedback sessions with the National Social Investment Office (NSIO) on findings and suggested how to improve service delivery to the citizens;

“On the N-Power Programme, Government officials at state levels heading the Places of Primary Assignments/sites generally, confirmed the added value that beneficiaries of the programmes brought to their schools, Primary Healthcare Centres (PHC), agricultural establishments, and offices. The monitoring exercise also confirmed that schools that were in critical need of teachers got beneficiaries to teach through the N-Power programme, and other non-teaching establishments also gained trained labour to add to their existing workforce. On GEEP there is need for system strengthening and public enlightenment for the programme to gain more ground with the citizens”.

In Adamawa State, the CSO conducted monitoring in 15 selected LGAs (Yola North, Yola South, Girei, Gombi, Hong, Michika, Madagali, Mubi North, Mubi South, Maiha, Guyuk, Lamurde, Numan, Demsa, Jada) – over 100 wards were reached, and in Kano State, the CSO monitored in 18 selected LGAs (Nassarawa, Minjibir, Ungogo, Dambatta, Bichi and Karaye, Kano Municipal, Gwale, Kumbotso, Tarauni, Gwaro, Kabo, Dala, Sumaila, Wudil, Gaya, Ajingi and Rano) with over 55, 000 beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries consulted in both States. For example, over 70% of beneficiaries interviewed in Adamawa State believed that the programme had impacted positively on their lives. The positive impacts of the programme on beneficiaries includes access to monthly stipend and trainings. An N-Teach beneficiary at Government Day Junior Secondary School, old GRA of Alkalawa Ward, said he could develop a lesson plan as well as a scheme of work which he could not do prior to enrolling in the programme. Also, schools visited in the communities in Kano State reported decreased illness among pupils, and teachers in charge of first aid reported that request for medications had declined.

“ActionAid Nigeria acknowledges that the N-SIP contributes in addressing the problems of out-of-school children and youth unemployment in Nigeria and knows the programmes are impacting on the lives of Nigerians albeit at different levels. We believe more Nigerians can be reached if the voted funds are released, because the intentions are good and commend the highly competent technical staff of the NSIO led by Mrs. Maryam Uwais for the job done so far. Based on our experience, the National Social Investment Office listens to feedback from the CSOs and many other stakeholders, that is why AAN is happy to be part of the process and encourage all Nigerians to take interest in how the programmes are being implemented in their locality. There is however room for improvement for which AAN has made independent recommendations.

AAN is grateful to all the CSOs, Citizens Group and other critical stakeholders for their support and professionalism in monitoring the NSIP and encourage them to continue to be transparent as they are held accountable to citizens as well”.

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